Sunday, January 27, 2019

Bucket Listing In Your Own Backyard

Funny how we search far afield when some of the best things are right under our noses.

I crossed the mighty Chattahoochee River and embarked upon a journey through the National Civil War Naval Museum in Columbus, Georgia.  I've known of it for 25 years and finally visited.

Since living in the Deep South, I've tried to educate myself about the Civil War through readings and visiting important battlegrounds across the Southeast. Until now, I never knew the extent of the navy's role in the war.  This river warship was active up and down the Chattahoochee. 
I'd read about some of the coastal battles, but was completely ignorant of the epic battles across the oceans.
The most notorious of high sea raiders was the CSS Alabama.  The raiders' job was to try to disrupt trade, forcing the Union to abandon their navy blockade along the Southern coastline.  The general effort failed, the blockade never broke its stranglehold on the Confederacy.  The little engine that could proved to be the Alabama. During its 534 days at sea she had boarded 450 vessels, captured or burned 65 Union ships from Brazil to France.  One plucky little pirate ship!!!

160 years old and still frightening.
So is a prehistoric naval mine.

The CSS Chattahoochee, once sunken in its namesake river, is now on display in the museum. 

They need to be more diligent with the WD-40, it's a little seized up.

The Herculean work and innovation that went into building these behemoth iron-clad gunboats is mind blowing.  
WHY did I wait 25 years to see this??? 

Certifiably stupid is my best guess.
Tip of the hat to the museum shop staff for turning a blind eye to the dork playing with all their costumes.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Never Ever, Under Any Circumstance, Give Up

I fight. "It's what you're good at", my best friend told me yesterday. 

Dammit do I ever get tired of it sometimes, better than the other option: quitting.  I've made a choice to cease watching disease and age in the rear view mirror creeping up on me. Time is too precious, I'm focusing my sights ahead, I'm going to beat the clock. 
For over a month, I've been piddling around with a few weights on my back porch.  Plus, I LOVED and gained knowledge from my sugar free month.  Sure, I've had chocolate and some of my own cakes since the challenge ended, but I'm still not putting sugar in my coffee, honey in my tea or jam on my peanut butter toast.  I'm committed to making this a permanent change.  The sustained energy I have now is like a drug.
To treat myself, I joined a gym.  $20 a month, no contract, located in this guy's backyard.

Quiet, all the free weights I could want, open 24 hours, I have the place to myself late in the evenings.  So what if there's a jet ski parked next to the squat rack and there's a general overuse of Duck Tape for repairs.

I love my little hole in the wall hideaway.
Also quite smitten with my other tool at combating decrepitude:  Cross Fit gym in Columbus.

 MMA fighter gives Muay Thai lessons in the evenings.  This is boxing on steroids.  Tonight, I was the only student.  A one hour private lesson with all the accoutrements of defensive gear so I could learn to give and take body shots, kicks and my new favorite: elbow strikes.  
Was I whining that I was getting tired of fighting??? I hope you weren't paying attention, because I'm already over it.  I love to fight, it's what I do.
You can't pick and choose when and where struggle and strife will meet you, best bet is to stay amped up and ready to enjoy a good brawl.

To heighten preparedness, Dax is my cardio coach. Which means I eat dirt on a semi regular basis.  We try to get out every day for 5 mi run or bike rides form hell, currently averaging 5 days a week, but aiming for 7.

Life ain't for sissies, strap on a helmet and get out there and grab it by the horns.  It's the F@#! best high out there.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Formidable Sunday

The storms that prompted me to bring all the horses in from the lightning on  Saturday night are being followed by an arctic blast. it is when Mother Nature is CEO, you roll with the punches.  Clocked out from work at 9:30 on Saturday night and my workday on Sunday fired up at 5 AM.
Folks urge me to get an office job.  "It will be easier on you".  It would be death.
There's a set routine on a farm, but even in that routine, it's never the same day.

Where else do you get to be a mechanic in the morning and a beaver eradicator in the afternoon?

Now that the overflow pipe is cleared of beaver engineered mud and branches, we were able to install an underwater fence to stave off further damages.
Then there's my hunting blind for those who don't heed the warnings:

If I worked in an office could I skip home for lunch to take care of my chickens?  I think not!
The juvenile hens have been enjoying their heated coop with large yard, but a single heat lamp can't offset incoming 25'F temps.

Bad news girls, it's moving day!


No frostbitten combs or toes allowed under my watch.  They're scheduled to start laying eggs by mid-March and I don't want any developmental setbacks because of intense cold.

Flynn comes in on his day off, to make what would've been an ordeal crawling into the coop for a single hen at a time, a mere 30 minute job.

He's heavily invested in this venture (half the chickens belong to him)!

For about a week, they'll have to do without their big yard, but I think they'll understand!

Meanwhile, the Sunday marathon continues.  So many jobs wanting completion.

These daily logs are my drug of choice.  I love to keep the pedal to the metal.  I back off occasionally to placate worried friends and family, then when their backs are turned, I go right back to doing what I love best.

So, when there's an injured animal hiding in the swamp, you get your two best trackers to find it in order to dispatch it. Chester was tracking off leash, when he alerted me he'd located it across open water.  I had pulled my phone out to see if I had time to go 1/4 mi. up the trails for a kayak because I still had to blanket 10 horses Sunday evening...this is the accidental picture I took before Dax, tethered to my waist, decided we were swimming across to the little island Chester was beckoning us from.  Winter jacket and all, I swam with my phone held over my head.

Once on the island, I asked my two fellow hunters which one of them was hauling our prize back the way we came.  I pulled it across underwater with the dog leashes.  I take my job and my food very seriously!
Chester wins 3 gold stars for tracking and his least favorite event: swimming! 

Dax gets merit points for getting me to the island, and back.
My large gnarly hands once embarrassed me.  Now, I look at them with a sort of reverence, these tough mitts allow me the privilege of pursuing my crazy fun 15 hour days.

Once a day has elapsed it's gone forever.  I savor every day without regrets.

What a productive and adventuresome Sunday it has been, now if I can just coax myself to butcher the body in my bathtub before calling it a night.

I, Jamie, Member of the American Camellia Society

How a day of off farm exploration landed me in the American Camellia Society.

First, you load 4 dogs, their harnesses, their water and treats, my picnic into the dogmobile.

Then, you drive almost 2 hours into central Georgia, through peach and pecan plantations, until you happen upon America's largest camellia collection in the middle of nowhere.

Massee Lane Botanical Gardens sprung up in the 1930's from one man's love affair with camellias.  

The gardens are lovingly tended and we tread gently.

The boys stay on the paths.  Ever so difficult for you know who.

Garrett shows how it's done in the meticulously kept 50 year old conservatory.

In the Children's garden, Dax is permitted to take some liberties.

It's humbling and relaxing to walk through such gardens, knowing what Herculean amounts of work are poured into them, and not having to be the one to pull a single weed.

I bet you've never seen a yellow camellia, you'll find them at Massee Gardens.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Dax's Garage

In today's episode, Dax will show us how to change out a carburetor on our ATV.

The old one is yanked out.

Under the Master's supervision.

The throttle cable assembly mystifies me for a moment,

But, Dax patiently explains the removal technique.

The new carburetor slips right in.

To my shock, the ATV fires up on the first crank.

We're still waiting on a back ordered relay to make it purr again.  
These long nights in the shop can be quite tiring.

Tune in next week when Dax will show you how to change the oil and fuel filters on an irrigation pump motor.
Happy wrenching!

Friday, January 11, 2019

Emory. Why Go Anywhere Else.

So, I had my new glasses, the prisms took care of the double vision, yet I still didn't feel like my vision was normal.  
I was due to see my corneal specialist at Emory Thursday anyway, so I waited.
Wee bit of laser surgery and voila:

Over a year of cloudy vision and with a few zaps, I'm seeing colors again that I'd been seeing as grays and pastels.
Dr. Behshad, thank you, you are the best of the best.

As normal as I can muster.